Flash Forward episode 3 review

Billy’s patience with FlashForward is beginning to fray, as episode three proves frustrating...

3. 137 Sekunden

Parts of this show I like, but others make me tear my hair out. For example, within five minutes of FlashForward starting it managed to present an exceptionally stupid view of what might happen if we all lost consciousness for two minutes and seventeen seconds. We are presented an aerial view looking down on an airport where numerous planes have been destroyed. Even those at the terminals? How exactly?

Understanding slightly more about aircraft than the writers of FlashForward, I’d suggest they don’t spontaneously explode when parked if not attended for two minutes or more, and, to be honest, they generally wouldn’t fall out of the sky either. The only ones in any real danger would be those on final approach using a manual landing, but none of this struck the writers of 137 Sekunden. Which, if you hadn’t guessed, is German for 137 seconds, the precise period of the blackout.

But then the obsession with the length of the event seems nonsensical, because a second is an entirely arbitrary measurement, although nobody points this out.

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Mark gets a request from an ex-Nazi from his German prison, who offers the knowledge of why the blackout lasted that long for a face to face meeting.

His picture is on Mark’s case wall in the future, so he flies to Germany to see Rudolf Geyer to see if he can find any answers.

Meanwhile, Demitri meets his fiancée Zoey, who thinks she sees him on a tropical beach in the future. Shame he’s had a phone call from an unidentified female secret agent who tells him when and how he’ll die before she’s in that lovely location.

At the other end of the aesthetic scale is the prison where Rudolf Geyer resides, and where he proposes they let him free if he tells them what he knows.

Janis, who went with Mark, has to remind him that letting mass murderers free on the basis of how useful something is that they might say is preposterous, but Mark is now entirely consumed by the event and the answers he badly wants.

So when Geyer offers a titbit of information to show good faith, it all seems too good to be true. Which is pretty bizarre considering that what he starts talking about is the Jewish mysticism Kabbalah, of which most people will recall Madonna is reportedly a devotee.

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His explanation makes very little sense. It’s about Jewish symbols having numerical value and the word Kabbalah in Hebrew equalling 137. But there is a second part, which he won’t give yet, but he claims he will give it up when he’s released. His proof of this is that in his vision he’s been repatriated to the USA, where he previously lived, and gives them details of the border control officer for Mark to verify. This seems remarkably thin evidence to release a Nazi, but FlashForward does hint that people don’t really act entirely rationally after the blackout.

Demitri is sent to check out the idiot who will be working border control in six months time, and he corroborates the story, even if he doesn’t understand what that word actually means. He’s either acting dumb, or he really is stupid.

This isn’t the only crazy thing that’s going on. Aaron convinces Mark to get his daughter’s body exhumed and DNA tested, to confirm once and for all if his vision of her alive was real or not.

But back to Geyer, Mark swings his release on the basis of ‘faith’, but it looks like he’s been conned. The Kabbalah stuff was all rubbish, and the only piece of information Geyer has is that, when he woke, the courtyard in the prison was littered with dying crows, which suggests that they blacked out too.

Ironically, this turns out to be a real clue, as Janis soon discovers that an isolated mini blackout happened in Somalia in 1991, where the source of this effect seems to have been a cloud released from a high tower.

Is it me, or is this narrative taking far too long to get airborne? Each week we’re fed more unconnected jigsaw pieces in the vain hope that if we persevere and the show doesn’t get chopped that it will all make sense at some point, or not.

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Even if it survives (and it’s now got a full first season order), is this one of those productions where someone compiles a huge list after the show of things that never made sense or didn’t fit what explanations got given? We’ve had a few of those.

I’m also more than disappointed for the actress who played Nicole Kirby in the pilot, because we’ve seen not a jot of her since. This show is developing a very Lost meandering vibe at the moment, and I don’t mean in a positive way.

Check out our review of episode 2 here.